The Underground Power Program commenced in 1996 after weather conditions caused extensive storm damage occurred to approximately 80 per cent of power lines across the state. To date, 60 projects have been completed statewide, including 49 per cent of the metropolitan area, which is now being serviced by underground power.
The Western Australian Government will fund the program, and is encouraging local councils to submit expressions of interest for consideration by the Underground Power Program Committee.
The project is currently undertaking round four, which includes four major underground residential projects in the metropolitan areas and two localised enhancement projects in regional areas. Round four of the project is expected to be completed in 2011/12. For more information on round four of the project, click here.
So far, the Underground Power Program has used HDD as an important installation method, with contractors such as Underground Services Australia (USA) laying approximately 500,000 metres of electrical cable via drilling throughout metropolitan and outer-Perth areas.
USA Managing Director Peter Rowles emphasised the importance of HDD as a low-risk installation technique for the Underground Power Program. “Professional clients such as Western Power no longer accept excuses when it comes to damaging existing utilities, and now require you to put sustainable rigid systems in place to eliminate damage to underground assets,” he said.
Proposals applications for round five are to be submitted by 19 February 2010 and the shortlisted projects are due to be announced in July. The first successful projects are expected to start construction in mid-2011.